Russia and China have used their veto right and blocked a draft UN resolution that threatened sanctions against Syria if President Bashar Assad's government continued violence against the opposition in the country.
The draft resolution prepared by the European members of the UN Security Council and supported by the United States stipulated that the Assad's regime should face the possibility of tough sanctions if it fails to stop its crackdown on opposition within 30 days since the adoption of the resolution.
The resolution was vetoed by Russia and China after the Security Council voted for it 9-2 with four abstentions on Tuesday.
Russia, which stands firmly against any mention of sanctions citing the example of Libya where the NATO countries largely overstepped the UN mandate in a military operation against Muammar Gaddafi's regime, said the text of the document was "unacceptable" despite several changes to the draft.
Russian envoy to the UN Vitaly Churkin said at the session of the UN Security Council that the draft document reflected a "confrontational" approach toward the resolution of the political crisis in Syria.
"The document did not contain provisions on the unacceptability of an external military intervention," Churkin said.
The Syrian government has used force to crush opposition protests, which followed a wave of uprisings in other Arab countries. The UN says over 2,000 people have died since the start of the protests in March.
The United States and the EU have already imposed unilateral sanctions on Syria and have called for Assad to step down.
On September 21, U.S. President Barack Obama urged the UN Security Council to impose new sanctions against Syria over its crackdown on opposition protesters. On September 23 the EU imposed a fresh round of sanctions.